Four Passes and Winelands
Food, wine and history. The Cape Wine lands stretches over four different ‘wine of origin’ regions. The Coastal Region (Cape Town, Somerset West, Stellenbosch, Paarl, Franschhoek, Riebeek Valley and Tulbagh) the Oliphants Region up the West Coast, the Overberg Region along the south coast famous for its whales and then the Breede River Valley and the Klein Karoo Regions along the famous “Route 62?.
The oldest and the first wine route to be established is the Stellenbosch Wine Route – only thirty minutes’ drive from Cape Town.
Stellenbosch, the second oldest town in South Africa after Cape Town was established in 1679 by Simon Van der Stel, the Governor of the Dutch East India Company. The pretty town is now the heart of the Premier Wine Route in South Africa. Well-preserved historical houses and oak trees line the streets. Four of these houses today form the comprehensive Stellenbosch Museum. Its university of more than 16 000 students gives the town a vibrant and youthful atmosphere. The perfect introduction to the art of brandy distilling will be a visit to the Van Ryn Brandy Cellar.
The scenic town of Paarl, only a 40-minute drive outside Cape Town is at the foot of the second- largest granite outcrop in the world. Explore the Paarl Valley either on horseback along the mountain foothills or vineyards, or from a hot-air balloon in the early morning. Paarl proudly bears the title of the third-oldest town in South Africa. Standing tall on Paarl Mountain and celebrating the birth of Afrikaans is the Afrikaans Language Monument Just outside Paarl is Drakenstein Prison, where Nelson Mandela spent his last years of captivity and started his walk to freedom.
Franschhoek, a tranquil village, twenty minutes from Stellenbosch, is known for its French Huguenot Heritage, fine wines and award-winning restaurants. The picturesque historic town of Tulbagh nestled in the Witzenberg mountain valley, a short drive from Riebeek Kasteel and Paarl is also well-known for a range of award-winning wine estates. The Riebeek Valley with its typical ‘Mediterranean’ atmosphere of olive groves and vineyards is only an hour’s drive from Cape Town or Stellenbosch.